CONSTRUCTION work on three major rail projects in Dublin city will take place at the same time to avoid disruption to businesses, it emerged yesterday.
Work on the Metro North, the underground DART tunnel and the Luas line which will link the original Red and Green lines will take place over the same time period so residents and business will not have to suffer years of chaos in the city centre.
But there could still be years of traffic chaos when work on the Metro North gets under way.
The Rail Procurement Agency (RPA) said motorists and public transport users face significant delays in journey times during the five-year construction period of the light-rail system. The areas worst affected by the disruption will be large portions of the city centre along with Swords and Ballymun.
More than 150 bus routes will be changed due to the closure of Westmoreland Street during the construction phase, and a portion of St Stephen's Green will also be sealed off while the underground section is being built.
Yesterday Iarnrod Eireann said it expected to apply for a Railway Order allowing it to build the DART interconnector next year, and that it was in daily contact with the RPA -- which will build the Metro and the Luas -- in relation to the construction timetable.
"There is major co-ordination between the two bodies, particularly in relation to St Stephen's Green which will be a shared station for the interconnector and Metro North," a spokesman said.
"We will be lodging our Railway Order application in the next 12 months, and are meeting with the RPA about construction. There's not going to be second bites of cherries."
Yesterday, the Dublin Chamber of Commerce said it wanted to see Metro delivered as soon as possible but warned that if Irish Rail did not accelerate their planning for the interconnector, which will link the Docklands to Heuston Station, businesses and jobs in the city will suffer.
"If Irish Rail and the RPA continue to progress these projects separately, the period of construction in the city would be eight years," chief executive Gina Quin said.
"This is wholly unacceptable, as commerce in the city would dry up over such a long period."